I shall be first to offer myself for receiving COVID-19 vaccine if people have trust deficit: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said a coronavirus vaccine could be ready by the first quarter of 2021. In an online interaction under the programme “Sunday Samvad”, Harsh Vardhan said he would volunteer for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine if people have a “trust deficit” on the drug. He said frontline health workers, senior citizens and those with comorbidities should be given the vaccine first whenever it becomes available.
“Issues like vaccine security, cost, equity, cold-chain requirements and production timelines are being discussed intensely,” Harsh Vardhan said, adding the vaccine will be given first to those who need it the most, irrespective of their paying capacity.
“The government has seen reports of alleged black marketing of drugs like Remdesivir and has asked the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation to take action along with their state counterparts,” the Health Minister said in an interaction with people on social media.
A single-day spike of 94,372 cases has pushed India’s coronavirus tally to 47,54,356, Health Ministry data this morning showed. The death count has risen to 78,586 with 1,114 more fatalities in 24 hours. And 37,02,595 patients have recovered from the infection in the country. Maharashtra remains the state hit hardest by the pandemic followed by three southern states – Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
“While no date has been fixed for the vaccine launch, it may be ready by the first quarter of 2021. I shall be the first to offer myself for receiving COVID-19 vaccine if people have a trust deficit. A consensus is likely to be arrived soon on emergency authorisation for COVID-19 vaccine, especially in the case of senior citizens and people working in a high-risk environment,” Harsh Vardhan said.
“From the time when there were no Indian manufacturers of PPEs (personal protective equipment) with good standards, now there are nearly 110 indigenous manufacturers of high-quality PPEs. The country is in a position to not only meet its own demands but also export to help other nations,” the Health Minister said.
He said the centre has told private hospitals to refrain from overcharging COVID-19 patients.
Harsh Vardhan said the government is taking full precautions in conducting human trials and the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 under the chairmanship of Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog is drawing up a detailed strategy on how to immunise a majority of the population.